Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Women and science in history...today

Today as I was looking across the (one of four) conference room during a talk, something struck me.

I was not being blinded by a bunch of bald heads. In fact, there were a lot fewer balding, white men in the audience than young, fully covered heads. Many of these heads also sported a couple of feet of hair, and a reasonable amount of the skin under the heads was dark. While the sciences may be more liberal in its acceptance of long-haired hippy freaks, it is by no means dominated by them. Those with long hair here are, with few exceptions, female, and scientists never have time to go get a tan.

This is the first conference I've been to where it is clear that the old guard of white males has mostly died out. Now, it may be a little sad that these people are dieing, but I think it's great that they're not being replaced by the same people from a good-old-boy network.

To be sure, I'm not claiming that this group of old, white, balding men were awful (many of the one just starting to be gray and bald came of age during the feminist revolution of the 60s after all), but it is nice to see a much greater diversity than in the past.

Also, this trend is an actual trend. When I first started attending these meetings, pretty much everybody was male, old, white, bald, or had some combination of those "features."

1 comment:

Grumpator said...

I would have expected more quantitative data - i.e. how many total persons in the room, how many were long-haired, how many were darker skinned, how many were female, etc, along with proportions and comparisons with past conference attendance statistics. This entire post is comprised of anecdotal evidence. And you call yourself a scientist!

-I'll take my extra credit to go, please.

-And I'm just kidding- hope you're having fun!